Summer 2023 undergraduate research programs, REU and SPUR

The REU and SPUR summer programs provide the opportunity for undergraduate students of mathematics to participate in leading-edge research.  Projects are designated "REU" and others are designated "SPUR".  The difference between REU and SPUR projects is the funding support that is available (See Support/Costs below).  For a history and to see archives of some previous REU/SPUR Programs go to REU/SPUR History and Archives.

REU PROGRAM - Research Experience for Undergraduates
SPUR PROGRAM - Summer Program for Undergraduate Research

The Nexus Scholars Program

The Math Department REU and SPUR programs will also be inviting students from the Cornell College of Arts And sciences, Nexus Scholars Program to work alongside participants in the REU and SPUR Programs.  This is a new program offered and administered by the Cornell University College of Arts and Sciences that provides Cornell undergraduate students the opportunity to work on research projects side-by-side with faculty members across the college including the Math Department.  Cornell students interested in the NSP can go to the Nexus Scholars Program website for more information on the program, funding, and information on how to apply.

REU/SPUR Program Dates and Location

Both the REU and SPUR Programs are 8-week programs that will run from June 5th, 2023 - July 28th, 2023.

The Nexus Scholars Program runs from May 31st, 2023 - July 28th, 2023The location of the REU and SPUR programs will be held in the Department of Mathematics, Malott Hall, Cornell University

    Continued Covid guidelines and information:
    Go to Vaccination at Cornell for more information on vaccination requirements for the 2022-2023 academic year including Summer Session 2023.  Continue to check for any future updates on Covid and vaccination requirements.  Other general information can be found at Cornell Covid-19 Response.


    The 2023 REU and SPUR programs will be directed by Alex Townsend, and they will consist of two REU projects and two SPUR projects.  Project faculty mentors are:

    For project title and abstracts go to 2023 REU and SPUR Project Descriptions.



    The REU Program projects are supported by the NSF ( RTG Grant.  Students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents are eligible for NSF funding.  Selected students will receive funding support of $5,000.00 under this NSF grant.  Please know that we welcome ALL student applications for the REU program regardless of citizenship.  The difference is in the funding support that is available.  

    The SPUR Program projects are not supported by the NSF and students participating in this program are self-funded.  Any student funding that is provided for the participants in the SPUR program comes from the Cornell Department of Mathematics.  To receive this department funding, you must be a Cornell student.  Department funding is available to all Cornell students regardless of citizenship.  Non-Cornell students are welcome to apply and participate in the SPUR program, but there is no funding available.    

    Cornell students selected for either the REU or SPUR Program will receive departmental support of $5,000.00.

    We welcome applications from all students including Cornell, non-Cornell, and international students (see below under International Students).  Those who apply to the programs as self-funded applicants will still be subject to the same competitive selection process.  If you are not eligible for any of the funding that is available, you can still apply to any of the four projects as a self-funded applicant.


    Participants will arrange for their own housing.  The Math Department will provide information on housing and contact information for participants to reserve their housing.  Depending on the continued impacts of Covid, housing may be restricted and limited to external students in the affordable on campus Coop Housing/Campus Housing.  Coop housing is the preferred choice for program participants and is generally where most program participants reside.  Other on-campus and off-campus options are available and will be provided.

    After You Are Selected:

    After you are selected, you will be registered as a Cornell Student as follows:

    If you are accepted to either program and you are a student (US or non-US/International student) currently attending and enrolled at a U.S. academic institution in a full-time 4-year undergraduate degree program, you will be registered through the Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Session, and no fees apply.  Also refer to SCE/Summer Session.  At the end of the program, you will receive an “S” for satisfactory completion of the program.

    International students with their home institution located outside the United States are also registered through Cornell Summer Session but under the umbrella of the IRIP Program (International Research Internship Program -  We welcome applications from international students!  The IRIP Program only applies to full-time international students who are currently registered and attending non-U.S. academic institutions full-time and are coming directly from their international institution.  The IRIP Program also applies if you are an international student currently registered and attending a non-U.S. institution full-time, enrolled in an exchange program, and conducting academic work at a U.S. institution.  International students accepted to the REU or SPUR programs will be self-funded, enroll through Summer Session under the umbrella of IRIP, and will be required to pay an administrative fee.  Under the IRIP Program you will earn 6 credits - Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory (but not a letter grade).

    Administrative Fee for international students participating under the IRIP Program: 
    The student is responsible for paying an administrative fee of approximately $2,520.00 for summer 2023.  The IRIP Program offers a scholarship that is 25% of the current summer extramural tuition rate for 6 credits. The administrative fee is determined as follows:  $1680.00 (tuition cost per credit) x 25% (scholarship) x 6 credits = administrative fee.  

    Health Insurance Requirements for Participants:

    There is a small health fee that is charged for a basic plan through Cornell Health, which is covered by the Math Department.  The plan covers any basic care that may be needed during your time at Cornell.  Universities and colleges in the U.S. require all students to have adequate and comprehensive health insurance, and any current plan a student has at their home U.S. based college should be compliant. This also includes any U.S. based insurance plan that a student may have under their parent/guardian policy.  However, you should check that there is no lapse in coverage and that your plan will cover healthcare while you are participating in the program.  Cornell health insurance requirements can be found at, and you have the option to purchase Cornell SHP if you choose. The program SHP cost for June 2023 is $301.00.  The rate for July 2023 is not yet determined, which should be available in February.  The estimated cost will be in the range of $605.00. 

    As previously stated, if you are a participant that falls under the IRIP Program you will be required to have or obtain health insurance that is comprehensive and compliant with Cornell guidelines and is provided by a company licensed to do business in the U.S.  SHP is automatically applied for international students participating under the umbrella of the IRIP Program.  You can request to have SHP waived by providing information on another health insurance policy.  Your application will be reviewed for compliance, and if approved, the SHP fee will be waived.


    • IRIP Program Administrative Fee = $2,520.00 - This only applies to participating international students who fall under the IRIP Program.
    • Health Insurance (Cornell Student Health Plan, SHP) = $605.00 (approx. for June and July), estimated for 2023.  Applies to students who fall under the IRIP Program. 

    • Housing/living costs (applies to all REU/SPUR students) – If you are able to secure Coop housing, rates range from approximately $70.00 - $130.00/week depending single/double occupancy and where you stay.  As mentioned previously, Coop housing may still be limited for Summer 2023, and current Coop members will be given priority.  Other on-campus dorm housing is available, but at a higher cost.  The 2022 rate was $39.00 per person per night for a double room and $48.00 per person per night for a single room.  More information on housing and Coop availability will be available in early 2023.  There is also the option of other off-campus housing including sublets, which is available during the summer months.

    • Participants can also purchase Meal Plans and Parking Plans through Cornell Dining and Cornell Transportation Services.  Some housing at the Coops has free parking.

    • Budget for food and other miscellaneous living expenses.

    To Apply:

    Applicants must be current full-time matriculated undergraduate students with a graduation date that is after the end of the program.

    To apply for the REU and SPUR Programs you will need the following:

    Statement about your background, educational goals, and your scientific interests.  Include whatever further information you consider relevant and be sure to include information about your computer experience.

    1. At least two letters of recommendation, which can be uploaded to the application portal.  The reference writer is notified to upload their letter once you enter their information on the application.

    2. Transcripts (unofficial transcripts are accepted), which can be uploaded to the application portal.
      The application link will be available the first week in January.  
      If you have comments, questions, or concerns please send e-mail to the SPUR and REU coordinators at

    Please go to to apply.  The deadline to submit your application is February 28, 2023.  Offers will be made approximately March 10, 2023.

    If you have comments, questions, or concerns please send e-mail to the SPUR and REU coordinator Heather Peterson at or contact directly at

    Cornell University is committed to providing a safe, inclusive, and respectful learning, living, and working environment. To this end, Cornell will not tolerate sexual and related misconduct. Through Cornell University Policy 6.4, and the applicable procedures, the university provides means to address bias, discrimination, harassment, and sexual and related misconduct, including gender-based harassment, sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic and dating violence, stalking, and sexual exploitation. Reports of bias, discrimination, and harassment can be made online at or by contacting the Office of the University Title IX Coordinator at